Mon, 24 Sep 2018

After parcel bomb attacks in Austin, police get 150 calls

By Sheetal Sukhija, Oregon State News
14 Mar 2018, 16:17 GMT+10

TEXAS, U.S. - A day after the third deadly package bomb incident in the Texas capital, in which a teenager was killed and a woman was injured, the police have said that they received over 150 calls about suspicious packages.

On Monday evening, the police investigating the case and previous such cases in Austin said that they had found links to Monday’s incident and a similar bombing that killed a man in another part of the city this month.

Investigators said that they were considering whether race was a factor in the incident since all of the victims were black.

Over the last ten days, three package bombs have exploded at homes in the Texas capital, killing two people and injuring two others. 

The first blast took place on March 2, killing a 39-year-old African-American man Anthony Stephan.

On Monday, a similar bombing killed a 17-year-old African-American male and left a woman injured.

Monday’s incident took place as thousands of visitors continue to descend on the city for the South by Southwest music, film and technology festival.

In both cases, the packages were left overnight on the victims' doorsteps and were not mailed or sent by a delivery service. 

The U.S. Postal Service doesn't have a record of delivering the package to the East Austin home where Monday's explosion occurred and there is no record of the packages with private carriers like UPS and FedEx either.

Following the incident on Monday, however, authorities urged residents to call the police if they receive any packages they aren't expecting.

Residents, spooked by the series of deadly package bombs delivered to homes in Austin cast suspicion on packages delivered to their doorstep and informed authorities.

After revealing the suspected connection between the incidents, residents have responded anxiously and Austin police said they received 150 calls about suspicious packages.

Chief Brian Manley confirmed the calls on Tuesday on Twitter, however, police haven’t indicated any subsequent check revealing anything alarming.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton warned all Texans to be cautious and wrote on Twitter, “With three reported explosions in the Austin area, I want to urge all Texans to report any suspicious or unexpected packages arriving by mail to local law enforcement authorities. Call 911 immediately if you receive something suspicious.”

Manley meanwhile said in a statement, “If you’ve received a package that has been left on your doorstep or left in your yard or left on your driveway that you were not expecting or that was not from someone you know, then give us a call.”

The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are working on the case along with the local police. 

Gov. Greg Abbott has announced a $15,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons involved in the package blasts.

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